Theoretical Perspectives on the Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions

The Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, D. J. Galligan and M. Versteeg, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2013

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 57/2013

Posted: 27 May 2013 Last revised: 4 Aug 2013

See all articles by Denis Galligan

Denis Galligan

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

This is the opening essay in a forthcoming collection on the social and political foundations of constitutions. The collection includes both theoretical perspectives on the social and political foundations of constitutions and a series of in-depth case studies of different constitutional systems, including Japan, Ireland, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Romania, Ecuador, Argentina, South Sudan, and Egypt.

In this essay, we provide an analysis of different theoretical approaches to the social and political understanding of constitutions: constitutions as expressions of national values; constitutions as transnational values and products of diffusion; constitutions as a product of democratic values and the people; constitutions as manifestations of power; constitutions as social coordination; and constitutions as social contracts. We contrast these theoretical perspectives with the findings from the case studies in the collection, in this way combining the theoretical and the empirical.

Suggested Citation

Galligan, Denis and Versteeg, Mila, Theoretical Perspectives on the Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (May 1, 2013). The Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, D. J. Galligan and M. Versteeg, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2013; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 57/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2270621

Denis Galligan (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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